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BRIEFS

Ronaldo gets No. 9 back

Madrid: Brazilian ace Ronaldo will wear Real Madrid’s No. 9 shirt this season, the club’s sports director Jorge Valdano has said.

Ronaldo takes over the shirt vacated by Spanish international striker Fernando Morientes, who left Madrid on Sunday to join Monaco on a season’s loan.

Ronaldo, who in his first season with Madrid sported No. 11, has always been associated with the No. 9. Madrid’s reserve striker Javier Portillo will take over No. 11.

SA teams reduced

Durban: South African cricket will reduce the number of first-class sides from 11 provincial teams to six franchises for the 2004-2005 season, the UCBSA said on Sunday.

The franchises will play first-class cricket while 16 teams, made up of the current 11 provinces and five new sides, will play a secondary, amateur competition and act as feeder teams. UCBSA president Ray Mali said the decision to restructure the domestic competition would provide financial stability and concentrate the country’s talent pool.

Sleepless in Barcelona

Madrid: The second round of the Spanish League programme will constitute a late show for fans of Barcelona and Seville. Spanish supporters are used to late-evening starts but for this Nou Camp encounter their evening meal can go into extra-time and sleeping bags might be required afterwards with their league match kicking off at five minutes past midnight on Wednesday morning. While David Beckham’s Real Madrid star ensemble head off to Villarreal for a sedate mid-evening start on Tuesday, Barca have decided to get their own back on Seville after their rivals refused a request to play the match a day earlier.

Magnificent 7 at Man City

Manchester: Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan believes Steve McManaman completes a magnificent seven for the English Premiership side.

The 31-year-old former Liverpool player who joined from Real Madrid is Keegan’s seventh signing this summer. And despite failing to win a regular first-team spot at Madrid, Keegan is confident McManaman is still a winner. “I still think Steve is world class and we will find out for sure over the next few months,” Keegan told the City web site.

$250m bond for 2006

London: Fifa said on Monday it planned to sell a $250 million bond aimed at protecting its investment in the 2006 World Cup finals.

Sources said the deal, if successful, would make bondholders rather than world soccer’s governing body responsible for costs should the tournament in Germany be cancelled. In return, Fifa will pay bondholders for taking on the risk, they said.

Kleberson’s injury blow

Manchester: Manchester United, already without England midfielder Paul Scholes with a hernia problem, have lost Brazil midfielder Kleberson with a dislocated shoulder. Manchester confirmed on their website that X-rays had confirmed the £6 million signing’s injury after he fell under a challenge in Sunday’s defeat to Southampton. It was not clear how long he would be out.

SPORT ON SCREEN

Soccer, Premier League from noon on Star Sports
Soccer, Football Focus live from 6 pm on ESPN
Cricket, UK domestic meet — Glamorgan vs Leicestershire from 8.30 pm on ESPN Tennis, US Open — live from 8.30 pm on Star Sports


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